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Originally posted by Pags:
They were tasty and messy. No tarp. Smiler Thx again dls. My wife, daughter and I loves these things.

I was going to try a little worcestershire in the juices this time as suggested by BigDjersey but forgot. I'll add it for tonight's dinner. I cooked enough for 2 dinners and the Foodsaver.

You're welcome, Pags. Glad it worked out for you. The garlic juice does make a difference, doesn't it?

I've never tried Worcestershire Sauce with Italian beef. One of the primary ingredients in WS are anchovies (which I love), and I wonder how that would effect the traditional taste of the gravy. Let us know what you think.

Looks like you did a nice job on your beef. Did you use a slicer? Another couple of ingredients to try to duplicate Al's au jus, are small amounts of clove, nutmeg and cinnamon.Go easy on them. you will find these flavors really add depth to the beefy flavor of the au jus. I could eat italian beef and pizza every day of my life. I do miss eating these in my home town of Chicago. I used to drop by Al's at least once a week.Top sirloin is the best cut for Italian Beef. Most IB stands use bottom round because of the cost.
These were delicious from the meat and au jus standpoint. I'll try the additional ingredients just to see how they compare to the original.

But even though they were very good, something is not right. And Maureen agrees. We need to know more about the bread. I used sour dough buns or baguettes the first couple times, and they were good, but obviously not authentic. This time we used sweet Frech Sandwich Rolls. They're wrong.

Any help with the bread?
A suspect the bread is cut up French baguette.

Sorry. I ate the sandwich. No photo.

You'll never believe what my wife suggested to me yesterday. "Let's take a weekend and drive down to the Portillo's in Bueno Park." Why? "That way we can figure out what bread they're using." 900 miles round trip for a sandwich. She loves these things. Eeker
The Italian beef places around here use a crusty -- wait for it -- Italian bread. Similar to french bread, but there's something about it that's just a bit different. Gonnella & Turano are big ones, not sure if they are available out there. But a regular crusty french should also work, not a baguette though, those are too crunchy.
Last edited by andyj
I'm a believer that a great "local" sandwich specialty starts with great "local" bread. That's why it's so difficult to duplicate those sandwiches elsewhere. All of the best bread for Chicago Italian Beef, Philly Steaks,and the Po' Boys and Muffalettas from New Orleans, etc are produced by local bakeries that don't distribute too far out of their general market area.

As AndyJ mentioned, Gonnella and Turano are the primary producers of the French rolls for Chicago Italian Beef sandwiches, and both companies produce par baked rolls which are frozen for shipping. Gonnella's shipping area is limited to a radius of 75-100 miles outside of Chicago. Turano's website makes no mention of a limited shipping area. You may want to contact Turano, and see if they will ship the par baked rolls to you. If so, you'll probably have to buy a minimum quantity, but you can keep some in the freezer for the future. Their phone number is 800-458-5662, or you can contact them by email here.

Also, Portillo's, Al's, Buona Beef, and Vienna also sell Italian Beef party packages online. The packages include the beef, gravy, giardiniera , and the par baked rolls. I recently ordered a package for my brother in Seattle from Portillo's, and the package arrived in 2 days by UPS. Contact them and see if they will ship the rolls solo.
The nearest Italian bread is probably in San Francisco according to 2 of 5 bakeries I visited today after selecting the most likely candidates from the internet. I think you're right about local quizine, and just will have to be satisfied with something close. I found a European Bakery that makes a soft French baguette that looks promising. I picked up a loaf so we're testing it again tonight. 3 nights in a row. Did I say we love these things? Big Grin

I called Turano's to see if I can get some. The ship time is 4 days unless I airfreight. Lady there told me if she gave me the recipe I couldn't duplicate it if I wanted. Something about the water being different.

Thanks for all the info dls and Andy J. It's really been helpful. I know you guys are aware, but many outside Chicago don't realize what a culinary delight Chicago is with all the ethnic areas. Sacramento doesn't come close to the quality and variety of restaurants.

And don't get me started on the pizza. Big Grin
A that is some serious Chicago Italian beefin. Al's does a great combo as they stik about 10 italian suadages on a skewer and cook them over charcoal. Some italian Beef stands cut the cooked sausage like a hinged book and lay it on the bread first. Then the beef goes on top.

The object of the bread is to contain or hold the beef and au jus without falling apart. Italian bread is the way to go without a crusty top.I am lucky cause in NJ, where I live, still has tons of old school italian bakeries.I use Calandras sub roles which are locally manufactured and available everywhere. If I buy a different baker's italian roles, sometimes I have to hollow out some of the bread as the role is to thick. Good luck on the bread search.
Pags, A couple thoughts on the rolls. You're near Sacremento, where the Italian grocery store, Corti Brothers is located. I've been there a couple of times when traveling in the area, and their selection of Italian food items is huge. I don't remember seeing bread, but I wasn't looking for it either. Give them a call. They may be able to help you out, or at least point you in the right direction.

A worthy substitute to what you're looking for just might be the Mexican roll known as a bolillo. Check out any panderias, or Mexican bakeries, in your area. Alternatively, well stocked Mexican groceries should definitely have bolillos.
Well. We pulled out the lightly smoked, sliced Italian Beef from the freezer. Let the beef thaw in the food sealer bags, removed the beef from the bag and warmed it up in au jus (4 cups with 1/2 cup garlic juice). Poured au jus over bread, added soaked beef, then sauteed green peppers.

A thing of beauty. After the picture, I added more au jus. Delicious. Sloppy. Flavorful.
Originally posted by Grubmeister:
I may have missed something but I've got to ask. I'm making these right now and was wondering about the garlic juice. I've never seen or used the stuff. I have one of those huge jars of chopped garlic in water from Costco. Could I just blend some of that and add to the recipe? If so, how much would you recommend for the recipe?

Grub - Garlic Valley Farms is the producer of garlic juice. From their website, the only retailer in Escondido is a place called The Original Sand Crab Tavern on Micro Place. Is that nearby?

You could try running some peeled garlic through a high speed blender like a Blendtec or VitaMix on the juice or soup setting. I've never done it, but I assume you're going to need a lot.

Good luck.
That's not far from me. I've actually eaten there but it's been a few years. Whole lot of fun with the butcher paper, they just dump the seafood out in front of you.
Anyway, I didn't realize they were anything other than a restaurant. I'll have to check that out.
Since there is no hope for tonight, I'll just go with the pureed garlic until my wife tells me to put less in {8-{P>
Thanks for the tip.
My son, daughter in law, and 10 month old grandson came over for dinner tonight so I decided to do the Chicago Style Italian Beef Sandwiches again. Mom, the cocook, daughter, grandson and grandaughter joined in also.

Same recipe as discussed above. Sprayed a Sirloin Tip with garlic juice then added the Italian Spices. Also added 1/2 cup garlic juice to the au jus as this recipe calls for.

It was spectacular. Here's a quick shot from my IPhone:

It doesn't look like it's wet, but it was sopping with the Italian juices. Fell apart a bit...delicious.
Every time you post this, I start to slobber. I need to make this one of these days. But seeing as I'm in the Chicago area and I can just go to any one of the many beef joints, I haven't been in a big hurry. But one of these days...

Great looking sandwich as always! What kind of bread did you finally settle on?

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